NATURALLY if you love a thing you work to preserve it, so should it be with a nation. Citizens should love their nations and work for their preservation and growth. I believe democracy is good and it should be our responsibility to work collectively to promote its success in our clime. In this regard, we must be interested in the growth of political parties especially those outside power. Given the kind of political interplay in developing world, they appear for various reasons to be vulnerable to unholy schemes and pushes especially from agents of ruling parties in government. We often downplay the place of parties not in power in sustaining democracy and our attitude to them is reflected in the name we give to them, we call them opposition parties, a misnomer that has reflected in the way such parties relate to government in power. They oppose just to reflect the expectation instead of being sincere contributors and co-workers in the search for a modern society in which life is more abundant. So parties outside power are necessary to make democracy what it is, a system that encourages the participation of the majority in the governance of society and particularly in the election of those to whom the society will surrender the right of leadership. Parties outside government should be called development partners; their presence should make democracy and progress better and act as a buffer against possible dictatorship and other forms of aberration. This explains why I had to leave out other issues of equally high national significance to engage in this discourse on PDP and the need to make it come back to its feet.
There is the issue of senseless and barbaric murder of Eunice Olawale, a preacher who was killed for taking her right to freedom of religion, dealing with that matter is very important because I see in it the final stage to a looming “big fight.” I would also have loved to throw light on the current trend of Legislature bashing that is becoming a pastime, with many of us enjoying it but without knowing the negative implications inherent. Before all these I had already wanted to marshal out three strong reasons why Buratai, the Army chief should be sacked with immediate effect, also I discovered something about the herdsmen’s forays which I would have loved to share with citizens who mean well for this nation, any of these am sure would have made interesting reading but I had to shelve them for this article on PDP for reasons I have given earlier and for the fact that we have made so much issue of ineffective leadership since independence, a malaise I think has its roots in poor management of political parties, especially in the aspect that has to do with party leadership and internal democracy. We all know leaders emerge from choices made by political parties, so if the parties are healthy, thriving and administered in the best manner possible, the possibility is higher that we would have high number of capable men and women to run our affairs on the altar of best practices which in turn would reflect in the quality of democratic dividends (freedom of religion, life, expression, live anywhere, etc.) and governance dividends (regular power supply, quality road network, quality rail and air transport, productive education, efficient health service, food security and productive economy available to the people.
More than these, it is in our interest that PDP regains strength and comes back. Multiparty is good but for our environment where our disposition is a little on the adversarial side, more than three strong parties is a threat. In fact if I were to recommend, I will say two strong ones built around two different ideologies, right and left of the centre would be ideal; it has the potential of destroying cleavages holding us back. It was for this reason I supported the coming of All Progressives Congress (APC) and it is for the same reason I think that disintegration of PDP at this point in our democratic practice could spell doom for our democratic match and even development progress. From what I know, there are strong attempts by forces familiar to PDP and outside of it to extinct the party, this line of thinking has even been voiced openly by Dr. Doyin Okupe, one time presidential spokesman; those familiar with our political practice would have noticed unusual political movements masked in the form of Salah greetings and condolence visits. Even as you read this I can say on some measure of authority that PDP members are not sure which of their governors is still heart and soul with them. But the truth is that a new party will throw up many things that may not be in the interest of this country and even of democratic practice itself. It could put us back into the hands of godfathers, create confusion, propel a sense of starting all over, it could also provoke a lacuna which can be seized for any purpose, the bad inclusive.
To solve PDP’s problem, it must be admitted that they have a big problem, the party is a big mess, ideologically, organizationally, and vision wise. To be candid, it was self-inflicted, it was a party established on the best ideals but what would have been a pure foundation was corrupted by the military-oriented wing of the party, who hijacked the party and subverted its processes and installed one of their own who finished the job of rubbishing the foundation laid by true democrats like Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Chief Solomon Lar, Orji Uzor Kalu, Jerry Gana, Sunday Awoniyi, just to mention but a few. Party leadership became progressively weak, it became a debacle when governors became all and all, and they even decreed who would be a member and who should not be a member. This happened against the convention that the party is like a church where citizens could subscribe to be or not to be members. The party got a knockout with the 2015 elections. It is so punch drunk that up till today, it is still staggering not knowing the best way to follow and nothing confirms this state more than the curious appointment of a virtually strange fellow as its national chairman.
Nevertheless the party can redeem itself and the way to go is to first of all admit it made colossal mistakes and resolve that they would be corrected. The first step to take is to agree to a transmutation in the like of a butterfly from larva to butterfly; members must resolve they want to have a real political but democratic party inspired by vision, reason and principles. The party must have laws which must be obeyed and rules which must not be bent to suit narrow interest but which must be open to all who are members; godfatherism must die just as imposition and reckless political scheming must be done away with. There is need for new, young but very competent persons to run the party and to carry new vision reflecting contemporary times, if no other thing, this is one way of minimizing the impact of the anticorruption war on the party. I recommend E-Registration for would be members and hope party faithful would know there is need to run a shadow government to enable the opposition to provide alternative solutions to national questions.